While it may have been a frigid day in Ithaca, on Jan. 14 in Houston, Texas it was a cool but pleasant 55 degrees when junior Sage Canaday of the men’s cross country team competed in the 2007 Chevron Houston Marathon. Among approximately 5,000 runners, Canaday prepared to run a marathon for the first time in his career.
“I had never run over 21 miles at a time until this race,” said Canaday.
Maybe it was beginner’s luck, but more than likely it was hard work and talent that led him to run into the Cornell record books. Clocking a 2:22:20, he demolished the 27-year-old Cornell marathon record held by Dan Predmore ’80, who had a time of 2:27:29. Canaday ran an average of 5:25.72 per mile. Unfortunately, he missed qualifying for the Olympic marathon trials by a mere 21 seconds.
“After 20 miles, I kind of fell apart and my legs couldn’t move as fast,” Canaday said. “I actually slowed down quite a bit in the last couple miles and I got to visit a whole new world of pain that I had never been to before.”
Despite his difficulty during the last six miles, Canaday reached the 10K mark in 33:06, with a 5:19.6 mile pace. He passed the 30K in 1:39:35, at a 5:20.5 mile pace — finishing in 20th place.
“I just focused on taking one mile at a time and thought about what I wanted my splits to be at the 10 mile, half marathon, and 20 mile marks,” Canaday said.
In order to run at this record setting pace, he embraced a grueling training regimen. Instead of taking a week off after a long and tiring cross country season, like most runners do, he decided to continue running and training straight through until the marathon.
“I ran some 100 mile weeks and put in a 122 mile week,” said Canaday. “I did some two hour long runs and long track workouts, like five miles on the track in 25:30 a couple of times.”
While Canaday is thrilled that he broke the Cornell marathon record, he is far from content. His mind was set on making the Olympic trials and missing the standard by such a narrow margin makes him even more determined to try again. If he was able to perform so well without any previous marathon experience, he only stands to improve with each subsequent race he attempts.
“Going into the race I thought it might be a long shot but it was a little disappointing to miss the standard by 21 seconds,” said Canaday. “It’s been a dream of mine to make the Olympic trials and so I’d like to try again sometime.”